Thursday, June 3, 2010

Where the Buffalo Roams...

It is officially summer here. I don't care what day they say it's official... all I know is that A) school is out and B) it's hot. That's all I need to qualify this time of year as officially summer.

Yesterday, I took my daughter ~ who celebrated her 8th birthday last month ~ to the lake for a swim. Fortunately for us, we live very close to the lake. It's a mere 5 minute drive by car and it is usually a rather unpopulated lake during the week. We never go on the weekends which is when every other Tom, Dick and Harry goes ~ hooting and hollarin' and raising cane with their cases of beer. Uh, no thanks.

So, Maddie and I enjoyed our quiet visit to the lake, although the water was already a bit warmer than I would like. Maddie loves the water, and so do I. Growing up in Florida, I spent as much of every summer I could in the water ~ mostly in the local rivers and springs, but sometimes we'd get to go to the beach. Occasionally, just a run through the sprinkler would have to suffice, or we'd go wading in a nearby ditch or canal. We were kids, what did we know? We knew it was HOT and that was all that mattered.

I miss the beaches of Florida, I really do. Admittedly, there isn't much I miss about Florida other than my family, but the beaches are definitely the top of that very short list. The only other thing I miss about Florida are the many springs and campgrounds we visited every year on vacation. My all-time favorite is Juniper Springs, but I spent a lot of time at Lithia Springs. I actually had two monumental experiences at Lithia: One being I lost my virginity there and the other one being that was where we sprinkled my step-dad's ashes after he passed away.

I love the water, and feel very comfortable on it or in it. I want to share that with Maddie. Although we do visit the lake or go up to the Buffalo River as often as we can every summer, it is never nearly enough. Even though Maddie is now 8 years old, she still does not know how to swim.

Next Monday, though, she begins her two week course of swimming lessons. I'm hoping that will help get her started on the right path. Ironically, next Monday is also my step-father's birthday and if he were alive today, would be turning 74. Happy Birthday, Dad...

Tomorrow, my hubby and I are planning to take Maddie up to the Buffalo River for the day. It is supposed to be sunny and hot. A perfect recipe for a perfectly refreshing dip in some very cold water. I'm really looking forward to it. It's our first visit up there this season, and we plan to return many more times before summer ends.

We have a lot of busy things planned this summer, so we'll just have to see how many times we make it up there. We will not be camping on the Buffalo for our vacation this year ~ the first year ever since my hubby and I met. We always go, but this year, we're going on a road trip to Pennsylvania to visit family instead. That'll be really different for us...

Maybe once we return, though, we might be able to swing a short vacation up at the Buffalo anyway. We're keeping our fingers crossed. A summer without camping on the Buffalo would be a sad thing indeed. I almost feel as though it is necessary to our survival. The Buffalo is such a magical place and it calls our name. You just haven't lived until you've spent some time on the Buffalo River.